A school in Surendranagar, Gujrat has been serving mid-day meals to its students based on their caste. Panva Primary School, during mid-may meals, served as part of a school meal programme by the government of India designed to improve the nutritional status of school-age children nationwide, was openly discriminating against the children belonging to Harijan community(lower caste).
For the struggling classes, education in India is seen as a ray of hope – where the marginalised communities inch towards a future of justice, prosperity and equity, with great difficulty. However, the India Exclusion Report (2014) by Centre for Equity Studies observes how exclusionary and discriminatory practices still exists in Indian schools.
Community Correspondent Bipin, who is also a Human Rights activist was appalled by the discrimination shown to young children, and the impact that it would have on their psyche. To put a stop this practice, Bipin made an issue video which showed several young students complaining about the blatant discrimination due to their caste. Armed with the video as proof, Bipin mobilised the School Management Committee (SMC), mid-day meal authorities, Dalit organisations of the region to demand that the illegal practice is immediately stopped. Under these efforts, a normal childhood was returned to these kids.
In India, we continue to practice manual scavenging, a derogatory practice, confined to people belonging to lower castes and resulting in their deaths.
One of India’s biggest religious hubs, Puri, is also a hub for atrocities against Dalits by upper caste individuals.